MinyanLand Virtual World Aims to Teach Kids Finance

Teaching kids financial responsibility can be fun and advertisers should come along for the ride, say the creators of MinyanLand, a virtual world for kids.

Launched January 30, MinyanLand is the result of the National Council on Economic Education, financial infotainment company Minyanville and family site network Kaboose, coming together to try and educate children in grades three to six about the importance of financial responsibility and thrifty spending. Unlike several other virtual worlds targeting the kids market, including Disney’s Club Penguin, Minyanland does not require a subscription fee to participate, according to Kevin Wassong, president of Minyanville.

“We want to make this accessible to as many kids as possible. If you go subscription on this you’re going to eliminate some people who probably need the help the most,” he said.

To finance the virtual world, Wassong is currently looking for real world brands to be represented in the virtual world’s economy. Financial advertisers might appear as virtual banks, for instance. In the week since its initial beta launch, the virtual world has accumulated 4,070 users, which Wassong hopes will be a draw for brands that want to establish a positive relationship with a youthful audience.

“It’s the ability to attach your product to a brand that is doing good at the same time you are marketing,” he said.

Participants in the virtual world can purchase goods and services at progressively higher levels. They can rent apartments, then upgrade to homes in higher profile neighborhoods. They can invest in the stock market and hold jobs. Employment in MinyanLand might take the form of a newspaper route or lemonade stand.

The virtual world also allows parents to get involved by assigning their child real world chores, like making their bed or cleaning the dishes, that can be paid for in virtual money.

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